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[Article by Lantz Manomano] —

Some Parallels Between Marriage & Our Relationship With God
Marriage is the best portrait or parallel of the Christian life or our walk with God. For example, the moment a man and a woman exchange vows and submit to each other it means they no longer live for themselves but they also live for each other.
The husband no longer makes decisions for himself alone, but his daily life and decision-making is ultimately done with his wife and children in mind.
Likewise the wife no longer lives for herself alone. Instead every decision she makes is made with her husband and children in mind.
Every marriage relationship requires love, faithfulness and commitment to one another. This love, faithfulness and commitment is not forced on the husband or wife, but it is a freewill choice where both spouses put away any selfish or individualistic desires but instead they create a common vision that will make them accomplish their God ordained purpose in life.
In Genesis 2:24 it says “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
This scripture speaks of a husband and wife becoming united in their life, values and purpose. They no longer act separately but they act as one flesh or a united team with a common purpose in the Lord.
During their marriage it is important for a couple to develop and mature pertaining to how they handle daily activities and challenges including any relationship issues which may arise. This is why learning to tolerate, communicate and forgive each other is also essential in a marriage.

We learn from the Bible that God sometimes uses marriage to illustrate or parallel the relationship between Himself and His people.
In Ephesians 5:21-32 the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church is likened to a marriage.
Christ is the Groom and the Church is the bride.

Ephesians 5:22-32 says: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

So the moment one trusts in the Lord’s death and resurrection and His Lordship over their lives is the moment we join the Church of Jesus Christ. We become married to Christ. We die to self and we live for Christ alone (Galatians 2:20).
Christ’s death and resurrection reflects His commitment to the world and God’s desire to for all to come to repentance and be reconciled to God. The Christian relationship, just like marriage is not forced on anyone. Instead we willingly choose to experience the love and Lordship of our Saviour. The Christian relationship requires us to renew our thinking and align our minds with that of Christ. In simpler terms we now live for Him and He has become our life (Colossians 3:1-4).

In a marriage when the two parties live for each other they value their relationship because there is a new understanding of how to live life with and for someone else. This is the similar case with one’s relationship with Christ. It can only be valuable when one fully understands that at some point we were walking dead in our trespasses (Ephesians 2:1-3) but because of the commitment of Christ and our response to His proposal to us, we have passed from death to life (John 5:24).
It’s like a person who was on a life support and recovers to full health; they appreciate life more and due to that experience they have a new perspective towards how they live their life.

 

How Can We Live For God?
There are many, many examples that can guide us as to how we can live for God. In this article we will focus on one of those examples which is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 says: We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

The Word of God is our guide on how we can please God and live effectively for Him. So it is wise to use the Word of God to guide us.
(verse 12-13) – God has appointed leaders who labor in the Word of God in order to equip us for the His work. Therefore we are to respect them and remember them always for the work they do. So whenever we serve others, we are also serving the Lord as long as we do it all for the glory of God.
(verse 14-16) – In the Christian walk there are new believers or those who are not mature in the faith. The mature believers should always be available to help those who are young in the faith as well as those who are fainthearted or weak.
(verse 15) – Being patient to all and rendering no evil to anyone is something to be understood. We are being instructed to be patient with all mankind and never to take vengeance whether on anyone. Christ died for all and we are to treat each other with respect. So as Christians we are to exercise God’s will better since we have come to know truth.
We are to pursue what is good. With God, goodness will follow us all the days of our lives because God will not withhold anything good from us. So as we pursue His goodness we also not to withhold anything good from anyone.
(verse 16) – Rejoice always means that we find our joy in the Lord regardless of our circumstances. Therefore even through problems and challenges we must trust in God and find joy and peace in Him just as we would under good circumstances. James 1:2 goes on to say “count it all joy when you face trials”. In a fallen world we will face challenges but we will go through them knowing we have God who works all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). So when we rejoice we are rejoicing in the fact that God is with us and He will one day deliver us. We also rejoice that when our faith is tested it produces patience, and when patience has its perfect work it makes one perfect lacking nothing because of the trust in the Lord.
(verse 17-18) – Pray without ceasing means we are not to tire in praying as it is our method of communication with our heavenly Father. Through prayer we are in constant fellowship and make our personal requests known, as well as praying for others and their salvation. As we pray we also give thanksgiving for all things as we know we have a loving God who cares and guides us in all things. As we do this we will be walking in the will of God. In other words this is us living for our risen King.
(verse 19-22) – Living for God also includes being led by the Holy Spirit as He is our teacher who is to guide us into all truth (John 16:12-15). We are not to despise prophecies but we are required to test all things whether they be of the Spirit of God. Testing all things means that we are to determine if Christ is exalted and whether or not there are good fruits. For example the Bible teaches us that we will know false prophets by their fruits and we will know their false teachings according to whether Jesus Christ is accurately and Biblically portrayed (1 John 4:1 and Matthew 7:15-16). We also are to hold fast to what is good based on God’s standards and not by man’s standards. Furthermore we should abstain from all kinds of evil behaviour.

The Importance of Knowing Who You Live For
When you are married you need to know you have started a new thing and that you would have branched out from the family you grew up with. You do not neglect your old family but because of your marriage and your relationship with your spouse, your focus and priority shift to your spouse and your kids (Genesis 2:24).
Same thing with a believer’s life. When you give your life to Christ the old goes away and you have a new direction in life as a result of your marriage to Christ. Your focus shifts from your old life, to your new life in Christ.
In Christ you are a new creation who learns to live according to Christ’s standards by placing Christ first on a daily basis.

 

Conclusion
Ultimately our goal in life is to live for Christ and to seek to please Him alone.

Colossians 3:17 says: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Colossians 3:23-24 says: Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

In your personal life, take the time to ponder about these questions and issues below:
• Do you live to please God or to please men?
• How you live determines who or what you put first in your life. Who or what comes first in your life?
• Do you believe in God and do you really understand what it means to be saved or accept Jesus Christ as Lord & Saviour?
• How often do you complain in your life? How often are you thankful even during challenges?
• How often do you fellowship with God and put God first in your day to day life?
• Do you believe all kinds of philosophies or do you test every thought and worldy idea through the lens of the Scriptures?

 

DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???

1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.

2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.

3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.

4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God

Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?

We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.

PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.

“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”

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